Friday, August 2, 2013




Thursday was a long day, spending almost all day on a bus to get to PUERTO VALLARTA. Never the less we just relaxed until today (Friday), where Dan and I met Daniel our friend from Angeles Hospital. We were surprised to be greeted by his parents and Monique who also works at the hospital. This was an awesome day, for Daniel took us downtown where all the shops are and the boardwalk along side the Pacific Ocean.

I was amazed by all the art work and talent that was offered to us.

Puerto Vallarta was a traditional village before becoming an international tourist destination, and has all the basic services.

Captain Francisco Cortés de San Buenaventura was the Conqueror of this region. Narrate the children of reporters when he arrived in the village of Tintoque, more than twenty thousand armed Indians were waiting for him at the entrance and carrying a flag of pens in hand, and that is why, Spaniards gave the Valley the name of flags and so called until today.

The town was founded on December 12, 1851, by Don Guadalupe Sánchez Torres, who call it Las Peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe. The name was eventually reduced to Puerto Las Peñas. The creation of the port was due to that was needed to transport silver from nearby mines.

Rancho Las Peñas was growing, and on 14 July 1885 the port was opened to shipping national officially using the name of Las Peñas.

On 31 May 1918, by Decree he was granted the sentences the title of municipality. From that date, Las Peñas would call Puerto Vallarta in memory of the lawyer and Governor of Jalisco, Don Ignacio l. Vallarta.

At that time, agriculture was the main source of wealth in the region. It also exploited the coquito of oil and chile that grew wild in the mountains and fishing which would reach its peak in the next decade.

Later the Montgomery Fruit Company was established at the hacienda of Ixtapa (not to be confused with Zihuatanejo), for the exploitation of bananas exported to the United States. The company brought the first tractors to the region, prefabricated house, an electric generator and even a railroad. There was work enough and merchants of the port benefited with increase of their sales. Vallartans still remember those years as "Ixtapa bonanza", these names.

In the second half of 1930s and 1940s first, fishing for the shark had great importance: salt, dry, meat was sent to the City of Mexico , where it was sold. The liver oil was exported to the United States where it was transformed into capsules that were given to the soldiers of the Second World War as a vitamin supplement. Also exported skins of shark, crocodile, some pearls and mother-of-Pearl.

In 1951, the city celebrated the 100th anniversary of its foundation with great festivities. On December 12 of that year, the Navy of Mexico arose in the Bay to greet the Puerto Vallarta with his volley of 21 guns, and in the square, 80 performers of the Navy band sang the notes of the Mexican national anthem.

Sunset in Puerto Vallarta. The arrival of foreign capital and the opening of tourism-related businesses, the entry of the company Mexicana airlines , which reinstated the air route which was abandoned two years and the establishment of some programs of the State Government for the development of a coast, promoted the local economy.

However, for Mexico and the world remained almost unknown place, until a remarkable fact was responsible for disseminating their major attractions; filming in natural settings of the port, from the film the night of the iguana, in the year of 1963, directed by John Huston, starring the actors of international fame, Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr.

On May 31 , 1968, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of municipality, the more late, started works of great importance that benefited the entire Valley and definitely changed the role of the port had hitherto played in development.

A very important fact marked the beginning of the 1970's. On 20 August 1970, gathered at the port the Presidents Gustavo Díaz Ordaz of Mexico and of the United States Richard Nixon . During his visit, the President of Mexico opened works of great importance: Compostela-Puerto Vallarta Highway and the bridge over the Río Ameca, International Airport, the electric substation of the CFE and new docks.

This work made possible the arrival of more cruise ships, and the new airport enabled the increase in flights of already existing companies and the entry of foreign airlines . Puerto Vallarta was thus connected with the main cities of the country and around the world.

The influx of tourists has increased, and as consequence opened up new sources of work for staff with experience in the different branches of the tourism industry and the population increase with the arrival of immigrants from different parts of the country, began to be reflected in the housing shortage.
The trustwas created to regularize the trend of Earth. The money obtained from the sale of land or regularization of the same would be employed in works of social benefit such as: drainage, drinking water, streets, roads and urban redevelopment.

In 2011, was part of Pan American Games Guadalajara 2011, as more important headquarters of the continental right, hosting the skills of sailing, swimming in open water, triathlon and beach volleyball. During the sports fair became present in the city around 10 thousand people between athletes, family members and journalists.

As we were walking around, Daniel had stated that his niece was getting married that evening and invited us to meet the rest of the family. I was honored and later went back to our hotel to get ready. Check out the pictures of the town along with its oldest church which Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were married. The church was originally built in 1903 at the site of another small chapel dedicated to Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. However, conflicts, namely the Cristero War, halted construction. It wasn’t until 1929 that the church bells of the completed building were heard throughout Puerto Vallarta. The church has withstood the test of time and has even been hit by hurricanes and earthquakes. Unfortunately, in 1995, an earthquake shook much of the ornate crown from the top of the church. Still, the beauty of strength and persistence is evident in the withered, but strong, bricks and mortar. Last year efforts began to fund renovations for the crown which has become such a strong landmark in Puerto Vallarta.

The church stands in one of the oldest parts of town and is the site for many holiday festivals, especially el dia de Nuestra Senora, which is actually twelve days of celebration in December. This is a quite popular part of Puerto Vallarta and tourists often report a very pleasant experience with friendly and helpful locals seeking to share their knowledge with visitors.

The interior of the church appears very modern but still holds the ornate beauty and golden details of traditional cathedrals found around Mexico and Europe. Masses are held every day and locals, as well as visitors, can be found praying inside or simply sitting to enjoy the peace. The area around the church is full of fabulous shopping and eateries to enjoy during a visit to this seaside haven offering white sandy beaches and a gloriously rich history.


After falling in love on the set of Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton came to Puerto Vallarta in 1963 so that Burton could begin work on director John Huston’s film Night of the Iguana, shot almost entirely in the ocean side jungle of Mismaloya.

"Hotels for cast and crew were in short supply and primitive to say the least. The old Oceano Hotel that stood in front of the black and white striped lighthouse on the Malecon in Old Town was the production’s headquarters. But when Elizabeth arrived to find a dirt floor and flying cockroaches in their “suite”, Burton called his buddy Huston and said “My friend, if we don’t find suitable accommodations for Elizabeth, I’m afraid I won’t be able to star in your film”. Huston immediately offered the couple his own rented villa on the hill in Gringo Gulch, Casa Kimberley, and the rest is history.

The couple fell in love with Puerto Vallarta and Burton bought Casa Kimberley as a surprise birthday gift for Elizabeth’s 32nd birthday in February 1964, just a few months after filming completed and a month before their marriage.

The Burtons spent a lot of time in Puerto Vallarta over the years, bringing along the kids (she had three children plus the daughter she adopted with Burton), their movie star friends and Taylor’s ever present entourage.

Burton eventually purchased the house across the street, razed it and built another house around a large pool, connecting the two houses with a replica of The Bridge of Sighs in Venice, forever afterwards called “The Lover’s Arch”.

Known as “The Pool House”, this adjoining second home also became Burton’s "poker lair when high jinx buddies like Peter O’Toole were in town or “the dog house” when Elizabeth saw fit to lock him out of the main house. Hence the neighbor’s name for the “The Lover’s Arch”: El Puente de Reconciliación or the “Bridge for Making Up”.

Burton started a journal while living in Puerto Vallarta, using a typewriter on the upper terrace of the penthouse master suite at Casa Kimberley. This highly personal account of their everyday lives was later published into a fascinating biography titled Richard Burton: A Life by Melvyn Bragg.

The famous couple’s notoriety swept Puerto Vallarta into the world’s eye and was the genesis of the thriving tourism industry we know of today. Burton also made many charitable contributions to the city and just like so many others who came before and after him, was absolutely enchanted by the place and decided to live here.

The Burton’s befriended many of the locals and took a special interest in the young nephew of their neighbor, clothing designer Xavier de la Torre, owner of the
Villa Leonarda and friend of Rock Hudson. Sergio Toledano, now an award winning Mexican photographer, was at the time a precocious 12 year old boy who had recently lost his mother. Taylor had strong maternal instincts and she and Burton took the boy under their wing, standing in as god parents for his first communion and taking him on many trips around the world including on their yacht the Kalizma and to England while Burton filmed Anne of a Thousand Days. The international paparazzi that gathered outside the gate at Casa Kimberley waiting for photo ops of the famous couple (a prelude to the current cultural obsession with celebrities) sent headlines around the world from Puerto Vallarta: “Liz to Adopt Another Child”.

Taylor sold the Casa Kimberley complex several years after Burton died in 1984, saying the “memories made her too sad…” She could never bring herself to spend the night there again after he was gone. Hundreds of Burton’s books and letters were found, along with movie memorabilia, vintage 1960’s clothing and a collection of Taylor’s wigs. Taylor comments in her book, My Love Affair with Jewelry that a bejeweled Tiffany brooch in the shape of a dragon that Burton gave her for the premier of Night of the Iguana, “forever symbolized the early days of our marriage when we lived in Puerto Vallarta…”




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